Fukuoka City consistently ranks high in domestic rankings as a livable city. Not only is it popular in Japan, but it’s also frequently featured in international media as a vibrant city where individuals can truly live their own lifestyle.
One of the city’s initiatives is to create a “positive cycle of urban growth and improved quality of life,” and to that end, it places a strong emphasis on the arts.
Artist Cafe in Chuo Ward
One unique art initiative is the “Artist Cafe,” located in the building of the former Maizuru Middle School in Fukuoka City’s Chuo Ward. The cafe provides support for emerging artists and serves as a hub for artist-in-residence programs. Artwork is also displayed in its gallery space. Anyone who visits can read art-related books and use the community space as a coworking area.
What makes the Artist Cafe particularly interesting is its collection of valuable furniture like pre-war wooden bookshelves, desks, folding screens, and mid-century design chairs. These pieces of furniture are on loan as part of an initiative by the Kyushu University Museum, which aims to explore ‘new ways to interact with old objects.”
Fukuoka Art Museum
If you walk west from the Artist Cafe towards Ohori Park, you’ll find the Fukuoka City Art Museum designed by Kunio Maekawa, a master of Japanese modernist architecture.
Maekawa, who was mentored by Le Corbusier, has designed many public buildings, particularly excelling in museum architecture. His design features brick-colored tiles that complement the green of the park, and the museum is also noted for its arch-shaped indoor ceilings and wide outdoor plaza called the “Esplanade.”
Fukuoka City Art Museum
• Address: 1-6 Ohori Park, Chuo Ward, Fukuoka City
• Open: 9:30~17:30 (Last admission is 30 minutes before closing)
• Closed: Mondays & December 28~January 4
• Website: https://www.fukuoka-art-museum.jp/
Fukuoka Castle Ruins
Another must-visit spot in this area is the Tenshudai (castle tower base) at the Fukuoka Castle Ruins. Although few buildings remain, the original stone walls are largely preserved, offering a historical ambiance. The view from this vantage point, freely accessible to the public, provides panoramic vistas of Fukuoka City and Hakata Bay. During cherry blossom season, the area becomes blanketed in pink blossoms, creating an ethereal landscape.
Fukuoka Castle (within Maizuru Park)
• Website: https://fukuokajyo.com/historic/tenshudai/
From September 16 to October 22, 2023, “FaN Week 2023” will feature contemporary art pieces at various venues like the Fukuoka City Art Museum, Fukuoka Castle Historic Area, and Artist Cafe Fukuoka. The first term of the 2023 Fukuoka Asian Art Museum Artist-in-Residence program (July~September) will also showcase the works of participating artists.
Jin Choi and Thomas Shine of Choi + Shine Architects
A large-scale installation co-created with citizens and students.
• Exhibition Venue: Artist Cafe Fukuoka
• Exhibition Period: Open on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays from September 16 to October 22, 2023